Will 1x take off on road bikes

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  • Will 1x take off on road bikes
  • On the back of the disc brake debate I wonder what the forum’s thoughts are on the use of 1x chainsets on road bikes . I see team Aqua Blue are using 1x equipped bikes with disc brakes for this years race season . I personally am undecided at the moment and have been led to believe that some of the Pros who are having to ride these bikes are not totally happy .


    Personally no

    i did try it last winter as thats what my parts bin build allowed.

    But its to limiting unless you want large jumps in gear which on the road I don’t like.

    But then I’m still stuck in the dark ages with 39-53 11-25

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I think it can work pretty well but I doubt it’ll become the mainstream option. It can have a really good range but roadies like teeny tiny gaps between their gears. Doesn’t make sense to me but then I’m not a proper roadie.

    Premier Icon scaredypants

    Yes, if the marketing depts say so

    (TBH, I often change 2 sprockets at a time so probably fine for me but then I don’t really pedal like a swiss watch*)

    *apparently they pedal really well, esp rollex

    Premier Icon Onzadog

    Road bikes don’t make the same shifting/ chain retention issues that mountain bikes do so there doesn’t seem to be the same reward for going 1x. That’s before we even start looking at gear range and gaps.


    Naa, I’m not a roadie, but I do have a 1×11 CX bike that I did several 100 milers on last year. The big jumps between gears is very noticeable.

    Nope, big jumps at noted above. And less reason to lose weight unless the UCI drop the limit significantly.

    Cross might embrace it for reliability and mud clerance, although at the sharp end plenty still use canti brakes so its not a given. Although as cross racers traditionally build bikes from handmedowns its an easy ‘upgrade’ if they already use SRAM or campag.

    I bet we see it in TT though, one less shifter, chainring and front mech has got to save a fraction of a watt (or maybe more?). Just have to wait until SRAM release a 56t narrow wide chainring.


    Can’t see it unless it is pushed. The reason I see people wanting discs is to have a bike they can ride in all weather on all types of ride. For the same reason a decent range of gears with narrow gaps appeals. I don’t want to be selecting chainrings based on if I’m racing, doing an audax, TT, hill climb, training or just riding to the cafe.


    Using my 1x gravelly thing on the road I mostly notice that I run out of upshifts quicker than I run out of road…


    For some people maybe, especially new comers or converted MTBers. Oldies like me who started their TT careers on a straight through 13-17 block and a 42/52 chainset like their close gears. We used a single ring for CX years ago (real CX not poncing about the  gravel) For that I prefer a double as its road without cars.

    I could TT on a single as I only ride my club and local 10’s and I can grind the 53 chainring up all but one hill. A  42/52 allow more scope though.

    Recreational riding no. No 1x set up gives me a low that gets me up 25% and the same time allows the fun of flat out down hill pedalling without stupid gaps. MTBing isn’t affected by cadence much as you don’t have even terrain for very long at all.

    Actually I don’t get it for MTB. Weight isn’t an issue. ( leave some trendy baggies behind if it is) and a front mech is the most reliable part of a bike and allows a shorter real mech.


    Yes, but it won’t dominate in the same way it has in MTB. Those that want find gaps between gears will stick to 2x.

    I think it’ll come in at the very high end with things like the 3t and red etap eagle (or whatever it ends up being) and then in the pinnacle sort of price bracket. That middle ground will take the longest to crack- not cheap enough to take a punt on as a second bike but not blessed with the halo effect of being bleeding edge.

    (Fwiw I like it but can see why it isn’t for everyone. I am definitely adjust to MTB gaps in gears but understand others like finer spacing)

    Premier Icon edhornby

    road is all about riding smooth, the selecting of the optimum ratio is part of the experience. And road bikes don’t get fouled up* so clearance isn’t reason enough. I’ll keep with 2 chainrings

    *Grrrravel bikes and cross bikes aren’t road bikes for the purposes of argument


    The exception might be more sprockets out back as well. 12 or 13 as routine might make it work. Not done the maths on what that would give. 8 speed blocks weren’t all that long ago and with 2 up front not all 16 combinations were different or possible.

    Premier Icon splashdown

    Probably not as 1×11 is shite on a gravel bike (imho) so can’t see why it would be of any use on a road bike…..pure marketing bollocks


    a front mech is the most reliable part of a bike

    Nope, pretty much least reliable off road IME.


    More so with general, recreational, weekend riders.

    I don’t see the entire pro peloton using 1x anytime soon. But I expect some teams/riders will.make the switch to 1x (above and beyond those already using 1x).

    But give it a few more years and who knows? Maybe Shimano will bring out an 18-speed cassette or a lightweight gearbox will emerge? Then I can see 1x being the mainstream.


    No,but maybe on E-bikes 😉

    I have 1x on my gravel bike, but thats mainly because I go offroad (mtber 1st and foremost) as much as I can and rarely pedal on road decents.  If I’m in a group Road ride I use my dropper (also controversial on a road bike) to get more areo and try to keep up that way. It doesn’t work all the time, but on short UK decents it’s not that bad and I can be only a couple seconds off.

    However i really can’t see it working for the mainstream public. The only way the teams get it to work is by tailoring the cassette to that’s days course. Cant see Joe blogs swapping out a 9-42 for a 11-28 dependant on what route they are riding.


    It’s a nope from me.. I find the gaps in the 11-32 cassette I have to use due to fitness levels bad enough.

    I don’t see any advantage, especially given how good front shifts now are. I get the advantage on an mtb, and losing the front mech benefits the designers of full suss bikes. But on a road bike. No thanks..

    Nope, pretty much least reliable off road IME.

    Well i have been buying retro bikes for 10 years and would have to disagree due to the amount of original front mechs still present on old bikes when most other parts have been replaced.

    Premier Icon ransos

    2×7 never seemed that gappy so I imagine 1×12 could be ok unless you need a low climbing gear.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    Having been to a few places where the front mech has never been used I can see it as an option for some markets especially if you can add another one on the end and maybe add a couple of 1t bigger gaps in there.


    Depends where you live.

    I run 1×1 fixed 3:1 for rolling terrain

    I also run 1×10 on my cross bike on the road with a 38T, not so far from the currently fashionable semi-compact 36T. It works ok, but I spin out.

    I also effectively run 1×11 on the TT bike, as the FD is basically a chain keeper 😉

    If you ride Dartmoor, it will not die out.

    Premier Icon martymac

    I don’t get the current craze for 1x whatever, how is moving the weight of a chainring/mech and shifter to a part of the bike that’s unsprung a good thing?

    i get that they are simpler, and, possibly, slightly lighter, but its bound to make the sprung/unsprung ratio worse, unless you stick with the same cassette you ran previously.

    i have tried it on my surly, 1×10, and found that its usable on moderate terrain, but go anywhere that’s actually steep and you either need a smaller chainring or a 5 ton cassette, putting extra weight right where it will have a noticeable affect on a bikes feel.

    also, when anyone says that they find front mechs unreliable, what i hear is ‘I don’t know how to set up or use a front mech’

    i don’t think it will catch on for proper road bikes any time soon, as the range of gears required is far too much, but by the time it gets to 16 speed, well that could change things.

    dont ignite over my front mech comments, im slightly trolling with those, but ive used front mechs for decades, including when i spannered for a busy shop, and find them a peice of cake to set up. Ymmv.

    Premier Icon aracer

    thisisnotaspoon wrote:

    I bet we see it in TT though, one less shifter, chainring and front mech has got to save a fraction of a watt (or maybe more?). Just have to wait until SRAM release a 56t narrow wide chainring.

    I think you’ll find it’s been done in TTs for decades – and anybody who isn’t already using it isn’t going to start because of new wide ratio cassettes – if you need more range than you get with a close ratio block and a single chainring then you’ll be using a double for a TT. Pretty much all normal TT courses can be done happily with a single chainring and a close ratio block though.

    I doubt TT riders are particularly excited by narrow wide chainrings either (unless they save power, or are also oval)

    Premier Icon Northwind

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    “i have tried it on my surly, 1×10, and found that its usable on moderate terrain, but go anywhere that’s actually steep and you either need a smaller chainring or a 5 ton cassette, putting extra weight right where it will have a noticeable affect on a bikes feel.”

    My 11 speed wide range (10-42) cassette weighs less than the XT cassette I used to use with 2x and has almost as much range, so doesn’t need a small ring. I moved weight off the rear wheel.

    The absolute heaviest 12 speed cassette you can buy is only around 100g heavier than an 11-34 XT once you take into account the freehub, and has more range than some dual ring setups. The higher end ones are in the same weight ballpark as an 11-34 cassette (but cost a million pounds)

    1x isn’t for everyone but I don’t understand why people get the actual facts of it wrong. It doesn’t require a longer rear mech either, because less front rings means less chain slack to take up. And sure, front mechs are reliable inasmuch as they keep working, but they’re not reliable when it comes to keeping chains on. I have literally no idea when my Remedy last dropped its chain. 2016 some time I think.


    Chris Boardman has said

    ‘One-by’ single-chainring setups
    “I like them but people have got to commit to it. From a pro’s point of view you’ve now got 11 sprockets at the back. That’s a lot of gears – enough to allow you to look at a given race profile and swap out a cassette [to match the demands of that day’s race]. And you lose the front mech, which keeps that area really clean and simple… If I was a pro, that’s what I’d have.

    “And I think for us [amateur riders], maybe we get big jumps between gears but it doesn’t matter for me. And we can all get used to saying ‘I’m going to do X today’ and swapping to the cassette that’s best suited.
    “I think one-by is a good thing. But I’ve always liked keeping things as simple as possible. I think the triple is no longer required; maybe in some circumstances you need two rings, but less is better as far as I’m concerned.”

    Chris Boardman’s seven tech trends for 2016

    When I occasionally ride my 1x MTB on the road (to get to local trails) the gaps between gears are huuuuuuuuuge. No way I’d sign up for that on the road bike.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    but I don’t understand why people get the actual facts of it wrong

    Because their dinner plates are all seriously undersized they are on a collective sugar low and slightly delusional?

    Premier Icon jameso

    Not really. Partly because of the lack of chain retention needed. Good to have the option but for me Xsynch is overkill on a road bike, even on a gravel bike. Races have been lost in sprints and TTs via dropped chains, a clutch mech is enough on a drop-bar bike if it’s a concern.

    Also the gear range and closer gaps benefit of a 2x. I’m not that bothered by the gaps but still prefer a 2x on my road/all-road bike – just no reason to go 1x apart from subjective aesthetics.

    Doesn’t need to be lighter unless the weight limit is revised.

    The main drawback for a bike that does a lot of miles and a lot of climbing (ie a winter road/all-road bike vs an MTB) is the poor chainline in the extreme gears.

    And we can all get used to saying ‘I’m going to do X today’ and swapping to the cassette that’s best suited.

    ____ that : ) OK for a racer perhaps, so if the pros use it (they’ll use it if their sponsor demands it) there will be weekend riders buying it. For me a bike should do everything I’m likely to want it to do with no more than a change of tyres. All this swap wheelset, swap cassette, swap blah… nah. Less faff more riding.

    Premier Icon lunge

    I’m not convinced, but then I’m still not convinced by 1x on an MTB. I like the range and I like the smaller gaps between gears, but I also accept I’m a Luddite who doesn’t like progression…


    Nope.  No real need to remove front mech as it is not a problem area and especially not where it screws up your gearing choices.

    Saying that, if I used gears it would be great for me as I would keep the typical close ratio cassette but just use one chainring.  As I get everywhere I need to on one gear having 10 or 11 gears and a range of 10-23 on the back (Instead of a single 15) would be more than I ever need


    My only drop bar bike is my CX bike, that currently has 42t front and 11-36 11 speed rear, the cassette is light as it’s a top end SRAM one.

    It’s been mainly used (since I got it) for commuting, at 53km each way there are plenty on here and other forums that would consider that a good road ride. I don’t find the gaps an issue and haven’t ran out of range at either end including off road hills that I sometimes throw in. Perhaps it helps that my wheels are pretty good and the whole thing weighs 8kg, it’s even got discs!!!

    Maybe I’m not as fussy as some when it comes to gear ratio gaps, maybe I’m just more willing to give something a try, maybe it’s not as good or as bad as some make out; but for me it’s ideal. I don’t race (on the road) but I can knock out a pretty respectable century (metric and imperial) ride in a variety of terrains. I don’t see a reason why I wouldn’t buy (another, having had a few) road bike with 1 by gearing.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner

    You’ll do what you’re told by the bike media.

    The agenda is quite clear – manufacturers are pushing 1*, so that’s what the media promotes.

    Not convinced by 1*? Then you’ll be referred to constantly as a luddite and encouraged to get with the programme.

    But think of all those things you can now do with your left thumb!

    And don’t forget the other benefits – not having a left hand shifter prevents male pattern baldness  & erectile dysfunction.

    It also gives you more time to think about which BMW will moisten the mums whilst you drop the kids off at school.

    Bloody hope not. The gaps in 1x on an MTB are bloody annoying.

    Even the “missing” 16t on one of my road cassettes is annoying. Should have got the 12-25 instead of the 11-25.

    Still, it’s better than the olden days when you’d (at the very least) have two or three freewheels in tins and a small selection of chainrings on a nail in the shed depending on where you were riding. (And if you think the current number of BCDs is a pain, try 144 on a road bike!)

    Premier Icon benp1

    Two bikes that get ridden on the road here – 1×10 arkose commuter, 1×3 brompton

    I find that fine but my riding on the road is slow and for commuting. My ‘fun’ miles tend to be on a MTB

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